The Sovereign Dominion of God (Part 2)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, March 18, 2012.
The Sovereign Dominion of God I. This study sets forth what Scripture teaches about the government of the most high God. The manner in which God's will is accomplished will be considered. Certain questions need to be addressed, some of which are: A. Is God active in the events of history, or has He simply created all things and left the creation to plot its own course? B. Does the universe function completely passively, as a glove on the hand of God? C. Is God's will ever not done? D. Is God the author of evil or sin? E. If God created all things but is not the author of evil or sin, where did they come from? F. Does God condone or approve of sin? G. Does God ever use sin/sinners to accomplish His purpose? H. Does God get pleasure by judging and destroying the wicked? I. Has God predestinated everything that comes to pass? II. The acknowledgment of the supreme reign of our God is an essential tenet of the gospel of peace. ISA 52:7. III. God is the Governor among the nations. PSA 22:28. A. govern: To rule with authority, esp. with the rule of a sovereign; to direct and control the actions and affairs of (a people, a state or its members)... B. rule: To control, guide, direct, exercise sway or influence over (a person, his actions, life, etc.). IV. The word sovereignty does not appear in the Bible, but the concept is most certainly declared therein. DAN 4:34-35. A. dominion: The power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority; lordship, sovereignty; rule, sway; control, influence. B. sovereignty: Supremacy or pre-eminence in respect of excellence or efficacy. 2. Supremacy in respect of power, domination, or rank; supreme dominion, authority, or rule. C. Observe these attributes of God's sovereign rule over all from DAN 4:34-35. 1. It is eternal and never thwarted or overthrown. 2. Man is reputed as nothing in relation to it. 3. It is irresistible in the execution of its counsel. 4. No creature has the right to question it. D. God's dominion is supreme. He alone is the source of His strength and power. He neither received or derived it. 1TI 6:15. 1. potentate: A person endowed with independent power; a prince, monarch, ruler. 2. All other power is derived from, and by the sufferance of God. PSA 62:11; JOH 19:11; ROM 13:1. 3. Even the awesome power of the devil is beholding to God. LUK 4:6. 4. Jesus Christ holds the keys of all power. MAT 28:18. E. God's rule extends over all aspects of His creation. 1CH 29:11-12. V. God created all things for Himself according to His pleasure. REV 4:11. A. All things are created by and for Jesus Christ. COL 1:16-17. B. Nothing exists without God. ACT 17:25, 28. The Sovereign Dominion of God 3-11-12 Page 1C. Sin cannot even exist without God. Sin is the transgression of the law (1JO 3:4). Without God, there would be no one to transgress the law and no law to transgress. ROM 4:15. 1. author: The person who originates or gives existence to anything. 2. Understand that God is not the author of sin. The existence of sin no more proves that God is the author of sin than shade proves that the sun is the source or author of darkness. 1JO 1:5. 3. God never makes a person sin. IJO 2:15-17; GAL 2:17-18; PRO 5:22; 11:5; JAM 1:13-14. 4. (JAM 3:14-15) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (15) This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. a. If envying and strife are predestinated and efficiently caused by God, then this wisdom does descend from above. b. By contrast, “...the wisdom that is from above is FIRST pure...” (JAM 3:17). c. Wars and fightings come of man's lusts that war in his members, which lust is NOT of the Father. JAM 4:1; 1JO 2:16. 5. If God by His irresistible might forces men to commit abomination, then they are obviously delivered to do those abominations. But JER 7:8-10 shows otherwise. 6. If God predestinates men to sin, then it obviously came into His mind that they should do it. But JER 32:35 denies this. 7. Sin is contrary to God's very nature. DEU 32:4; HAB 1:13. a. God hates sin, forbids it in His law, and punishes it. b. To charge God with being the author of sin is to charge God with being the author of that which He abominates. 8. Man is held responsible for his deeds. 2CO 5:10; ROM 2:2-6; 14:12. a. A glove is manipulated by the hand that it is on. Therefore the hand is responsible for whatever the glove does. b. If God manipulates a man to sin like a hand manipulates a glove, then God, not man, is responsible for his sin. c. If God forces a man to lie, then it is God that is lying. But Scripture clearly teaches that God cannot lie. TIT 1:2. 9. Scripture does teach that God creates evil. ISA 45:7. a. Evil is understood in more than one sense in Scripture. Sometimes it refers to the sin itself. 1KI 11:6; ROM 7:19-21. b. But evil also refers to the judgment which God brings against sinners. EXO 32:10-14; JON 3:10. c. Therefore, ISA 45:7 is not a proof text for the belief that God deliberately generated evil as much as He generated the sun. 10. While God is not the author of sin, He most certainly is the author of everything whereby sin could be occasioned. He is responsible for: a. the law. JAM 4:12. (1) Sin is the transgression of the law. 1JO 3:4. (2) Where there is no law, there is no sin (transgression). ROM 4:15. (3) Therefore sin could not exist unless God had given law. b. the object of the law. GEN 2:9. c. the person. GEN 1:27. d. the ability. PRO 16:1; 20:24. The Sovereign Dominion of God 3-11-12 Page 211. God created man with certain abilities, objects and opportunities. He placed man under law which regulated man's use of these things. a. God created man good. GEN 1:26, 31. b. God placed him under a law forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. GEN 2:16-17. c. Man was not restrained from disobeying that law if he chose to do that. d. Man was informed in advance of the consequences of disobedience and held responsible for his choice. e. Man sinned when he availed himself of the opportunity to misuse the ability to eat an object which God had made but declared “off-limits.” f. Sin's entrance is consistently attributed to man. ECC 7:29; ROM 5:12. VI. God's creation belongs to Him. It is His to govern according to His own will by right of creatorship. This is a basic precept of property law. PSA 24:1; MAT 20:15; ROM 9:19-20. A. The denial of a Creator is the basis of chaos and tyranny. 1. If there is no Supreme Creator, then ultimate dominion over property lies with the creature. 2. The world must then be governed by the creature, but which creature? As such, the creatures must struggle amongst themselves to determine who is most eligible to rule and therefore have claim to all property and its regulation. 3. This is the essence of the philosophical/political mantra, “order ab chao” (order from chaos) in which struggle between forces is deemed necessary to produce superior rule and order. 4. The “superior order” which results from the chaotic struggle must then enforce its will absolutely to maintain its status. This is tyranny and a claim to be God. B. Observe these examples of God's rule: 1. The right to discriminating distribution of favor. PSA 147:19-20; 1CO 12:11, 18, 28. 2. The withdrawal of favor. JOB 12:12-25. 3. The depriving of favor. JOB 39:13-17; EXO 4:11. 4. The manipulation of the elements. JOB 37:10-13; PSA 148:8; MAR 4:39-41. 5. The control of the devils. MAR 1:34. 6. The power of life and death. DEU 32:39. C. Consider a world where someone other than the invisible Creator lays claim to all the dominion of the perfect, pure Creator! D. Since everything belongs to God, it is the creature's obligation to humbly acknowledge God's pleasure in its government. 1CH 29:13; NEH 9:33. 1. God reserves the right to do with His own as pleases Him. Men ought to desire His exercise of this right. MAT 6:10, 13; 20:15. 2. Men ought to acknowledge that their possession of anything in this world is by the grant of God. DEU 8:17-18; 1CH 29:14-16. 3. Our families and property belong first to God. JOB 1:21. 4. Obedience is grounded in the recognition of God's sovereignty and property rights. DEU 13:6-11; 21:18-21; LUK 14:26-27, 33; 1CO 6:19-20. 5. Man's first allegiance is not to himself or other men, but to God. MAT 22:37-38. 6. Man has no right to fault God for His rule. JOB 36:22-23; 40:8. 7. The potter can do with the clay as He will. ROM 9:20-23. The Sovereign Dominion of God 3-11-12 Page 3VII. God does all things for His own pleasure. PSA 115:3; ISA 46:10-11. A. Nothing occurs in this universe which overthrows the accomplishment of this goal. ISA 14:24-27; JOB 23:13. B. The unwillingness of the creation to participate in the designs of God in no wise frustrates His plans. PRO 19:21; 21:30. C. All the defiant raging of man against his Creator only amuses Him. He still gets His way. PSA 2:1-6; ISA 53:10. D. Thus, it is evident that God's will is always done. As such, His pleasure is complete. Yet, it is obvious that there are things against the will of God that displease Him. Observe: 1. God's will may be openly disregarded. LUK 12:47. 2. God's desire to bestow favor may be thwarted. MAT 23:37; PSA 81:10-16. 3. God may be displeased by some things. PSA 5:4-5; NUM 11:1. E. How can this be? If God is sovereign and His government never overthrown, how can it be said that sometimes His will is not done? The apparent dilemma is overcome by understanding that the will of God is known in two aspects: 1. God's will as expressed in His commandments may be resisted. 2. God's will as it pertains to His control of all things, even sin, to the accomplishment of His purposes is never resisted. DAN 4:34-35; ISA 46:10; EPH 1:11. 3. Man's resistance of God's will as expressed in His commandments does not exempt him from God's will in the sense of His control of all things. 4. A difference must be recognized between what men do and what God does with what men do. F. God made man a responsible creature. Man was not created as a robot, but rather with the ability to choose and was placed under a law requiring the proper exercise of that ability. 1. There was no sin in Adam before his disobedience; only the potential was there. 2. God neither forced Adam to sin nor restrained him from disobeying if he so chose. ECC 7:29; GEN 1:26; ROM 5:19. 3. Man was informed in advance of the consequence of his actions and held accountable for his decision. GEN 2:16-17; 3:11-12, 17-19; 1TI 2:14. 4. Fallen man is now unable to do good (ROM 8:7-8; JER 13:23), but is still accountable to do so since his inability is itself the result of his own choice. a. Man's loss of ability to do good has not stripped God of His right to hold man accountable for not doing good. b. Reasonable people understand the justice of such in the natural realm. (1) If a man spends all his money drinking himself into an alcoholic stupor to the extent that he can no longer function to fulfil his responsibilities on the job, is his employer unjust for firing him for non-performance? (2) If the man is debilitated to the point that he can't get another job, do we fault the employer for giving him a job in the first place and paying him for his work, thus supplying him with the means to his own destruction? (3) Reasonable people would lay the blame for the fool's inability to perform his required tasks at his own feet. 5. It is evident that God's will is to deal with man as a responsible creature allowing him to violate His will as revealed in His precepts. However, God's will as expressed in His precepts is two-fold: obedience merits blessing; disobedience The Sovereign Dominion of God 3-11-12 Page 4merits judgment. Either way, God's will is still done. Man must now face the will of God as expressed in the latter. a. God is a God of judgment. PSA 9:7, 16; ISA 30:18. b. God's nature is such that He must separate Himself from sinners in the exercise of His judgment. ISA 59:1-2; MAT 25:41. c. This righteous indignation against disobedience was even a necessary part of God's remedy for sin. MAT 27:46. d. Man does not resent his choice to sin, only the judgment. JOH 3:19-20. 6. God takes glory and rejoices in the judgment of rebels. DEU 28:63; PRO 1:24-27; EZE 5:12-13; 2CO 2:16. 7. Though God's will is accomplished both in submission to His desire and in judgment against rebellion, He prefers the former. He does not effectually cause people to sin so He can get His jollies by destroying them. EZE 18:23, 32; JAM 2:13. G. Nothing, including sin, occurs without God's permission. 1. permit: To allow, suffer, give leave; not to prevent. 2. suffer: To tolerate, allow. 3. God does tolerate sin to the degree that it fulfils His purpose. This is not to say that He condones it. ACT 13:18; 14:16. 4. God's sufferance of sin and rebellion is limited. PSA 76:10. a. restrain: To check, hold back, or prevent (a person or thing) from some course of action. b. The wrath of man is sinful. JAM 1:20. c. The remainder of wrath is all the wrath that could not be because God did not allow it. d. God permits only as much wickedness as He will use to accomplish His purposes. e. God knows all possibilities of the universe and allows only those which will accomplish His purpose. f. Here are some examples of God restraining sin. GEN 20:6; 31:7; DEU 18:14; EXO 34:23-24; ISA 25:26, 34. g. God is known to do this for the benefit of the faithful. 2CH 17:10; PRO 16:7. 5. The story of Job amply testifies to God's restraints upon evil. JOB 1:12; 2:6; 34:23. a. The story of Job explains how it is that an “evil spirit from the LORD" troubled Saul. 1SAM 16:14. b. The story of Job ought to be a comfort to those who suffer in trials, knowing that God may be glorifying Himself through their stedfastness. 1PE 1:6-7. 6. God's restraint of evil is sometimes realized by His blessing the associates of a faithful person. GEN 39:3-4; 21. 7. When God restrains the wrath of man for the protection of His faithful, He is actually doing a favor for the wicked also by not allowing them to do something for which they would be sorely punished. H. God is omniscient (PSA 139:1-6). As such, He has never been in a dilemma as a result of something happening which He did not foresee and will to permit. The very salvation of His elect from sin was ordered before there was a need for it. 2TI 1:9; 1PE 1:18-20. The Sovereign Dominion of God 3-11-12 Page 5I. Nothing in this universe, including sin, occurs without the divine decree of God. When His law is transgressed, it is by His express permission and it never frustrates His ordained purpose. The Sovereign Dominion of God 3-11-12 Page 6